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Saturday, November 09, 2013

West Indies series - debutants give India 1-0 lead

India gave the opportunity to two players for making their debut in the first test of the Farewell Series of Sachin Tendulkar. Both debutants had done well in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia, one of them in fact was named the Man of Series then. Both grabbed the opportunity given to them and ensured that the 199th test of Sachin Tendulkar finished as early as the third day itself.

It augurs well for Indian cricket that Mohammad Shami has come through at this time with a potent combination of swing and pace. Though he may not be express pace, the difference that he can conjure up compared to that of Praveen Kumar will be critical for Indian teams fortunes during their South African sojourn later this year. If Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav can pick up their form, the Indian bowling will be a tough force to reckon with.

On the batting front, the void created due to the retirement of VVS Laxman has still not been filled yet. Sourav Ganguly's position has been taken up by Virat Kohli (who will now move into the No.4 position of Tendulkar). Rohit Sharma had not taken his chance earlier (through a freak injury) while his colleagues like Rahane and Raina were preferred earlier. This time, he was ready and his 200 in the previous ODI was a good dose of inspiration. Though he could not repeat the double century at Kolkata, his innings and partnership with Ashwin took India into the comfort zone. With Rohit's debut, the Indian batting lineup for South Africa looks like - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahane/Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin. Quite a strong lineup in fact.

Credit must be given to Ashwin also. Though he performed well with the ball, his contribution to the partnership with Rohit was equally important. Ashwin seems to have all qualities of a No.7 batsman and he should be groomed for the allrounder role (as we have mentioned earlier on this blog). All in all, a good result for the Indian team at Kolkata. Everything to look forward at Mumbai where the Master will be playing his last (and 200th) test match.
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